11 January 2010

DOMOTEX - Useful Expressions, Final Advice

Rita Dommermuth

Last minute details: the weather, useful expressions and advice for DOMOTEX 2010.

Jim, Katherine and I are excited about seeing you in a few days. We have several last minute details to share with you. Starting with airport security: plan for extra time.

The Weather in Hannover

Definitely be prepared for cold, wintery weather. Here is a link to the BBC weather website for Hannover so you can monitor what to expect. As you can see, it will be cold and mostly overcast.

Useful German and Flooring Expressions

Even if you are a Domotex travel-pro, it can't hurt to be reminded of a few German expressions. If there are others you would add to the list, let us know in the comments.

Customer service: Service or Information

Hello!: Guten Tag!
Good bye!: Auf Wiedersehen!

Thank you: Danke
You’re welcome: Bitte

Train station: Bahnhof or Hauptbahnhof
Where is the train station? Wo ist der Bahnhof?

Fairground: Messegelaende
How far is the fairground? Wie weit is the Messegelaende?
Which train goes to the fairground? Welche Bahn geht zum Messegelaende?

Entrance: Eingang
How do I get to the entrance? Wie komme ich zum Eingang?

Exit: Ausgang
How do I find the exit? Wie finde ich den Ausgang?

For other words and expressions, consider this online dictionary http://www.leo.org/ which includes an English to German search window.

As it relates to flooring, you'll notice different conventions for referring to product. This listing of flooring expressions will help you make sense of the differences.

Flooring Product Expressions

Carpet or rugs – Tapis, moquette [French terms]. The german word for carpet is Teppich, for wall-to-wall is Teppichboden (literally carpetfloor) or Teppichfliessen (carpet tile).

Jim GouldWood – Parquet (pronounced parkett, not par kay); you might also say Holzboden for woodfloor.

Vinyl – PVC (not just tile but also sheet goods)

Nylon – Polyamide (PA)

Polypropylene – PP

Polyurethane finishes on flooring is called PU

Again, if there are others you suggest adding to the list, do let us know in the comments.

FloorDaily Interview with Rita Anticipates DOMOTEX 2010

If you haven't, you might also want to listen to this recent FloorDaily interview with Kemp Harr during which Rita Dommermuth Discusses Highlights and Weather Conditions for Domotex Germany.

It lasts approximately 8 minutes. The description reads:

"Rita Dommermuth, VP of Sales for Domotex, and Kemp Harr discuss the highlights for the world's largest global flooring expo which will be held in Hanover Germany from January 16 to 19. Listen to the interview to hear more details about the anticipated attendance, U.S. participation, Contract World, a bus tour of German retailers, and more about the weather forecast."

Advice For Getting Around Hannover

Donna Hyland suggests, when using a taxi, having the address of your destination written down to give to the taxi driver, although most speak English quite well. Germans are modest about their foreign language capabilities so if you ask if they speak English, they usually will say “just a little”.

It is generally a good idea to always have readily available your exact hotel phone number and address. After a full few days walking the show, navigating a foreign environment and being still jet lagged, it's nice to give your brain a break and simply pull out a piece of paper - or your cell phone/PDA - with your hotel information.

VIP North American Delegation

If you are a member of the VIP North American Delegation, Jim recommends that you meet him on Saturday morning, the opening day of Domotex, at the VIP Lounge area if you need help or direction. He will be checking email in the evening only.

Note that Domotex entrance tickets and other information will be sent out on 1/11/10. If you haven't received yours, please contact Rita, Katherine or Jim or all three.

Finally, if you need help of any kind, please don't hesitate to ask. You will find many staff members ready to help and answer your questions at DOMOTEX.

Bon Voyage! Katherine, Art, and Rita and Jim will see you very shortly in Germany.

~ Jim and Rita

Jim Gould, Floor Covering Institute

Rita Dommermuth, Hannover Fairs USA
rita@hfusa.com - Tel: 562-901-9191

10 January 2010

Hannover Restaurants For Domotex Dining

Jim Gould

Where To Dine In Hannover?

A question that frequently comes up at Domotex time is where to go for dinner in Hannover? I have my favorite and dine there every Domotex. But what about others? Hannover offers many excellent restaurants and a variety of cuisines: which to choose? I decided to survey my colleagues for their favorites. The result is this list of best Hannover Restaurants for Domotex Dining.

For all of these, I recommend calling ahead for a reservation. Also, not all take credit cards.

Best Hannover Restaurants for Domotex Dining

Kim Gavin, Floor Covering Weekly
Kim's favorite in Hannover is the highly rated Chinese/Asian restaurant - Arc En'Ciel. It is located Downtown near the train station and a two block walk from the Crowne Plaza Hotel. It is open Monday through Saturday and accepts credit cards.

Address: Königstraße 55, 30175 Hannover
Phone: 0511 313 857

David Wootton, The Wootton Group
David considers the best restaurant in Hannover to be Die Insel. He says it's quite expensive, but good and authentically German.

Rudolf-von-Bennigsen Ufer 81, D-30519 Hannover
Tel. +49 (0)511.83 12 14

Rita Dommermuth, DOMOTEX
Rita recommends Pier 51. It's a restaurant with international cuisine and an exciting view. The restaurant has a unique, almost Mediterranean feel, with two-thirds of it directly overlooking the Maschsee lake. It is rated as one of Hannover's best restaurants and has received numerous awards. Garden or terrace, and beer garden.

Rudolf-von-Bennigsen-Ufer 51, 30173 Hannover
Phone +49 511 807 180-0

Monika Arnold, DOMOTEX
Monika recommends three restaurants:

Basil. The food is excellent and the atmosphere is very nice as you can see from the website (also in english).

Address: Dragonerstraße 30, 30163 Hannover, Germany
Phone: 0511 622-636

If you are looking for a bavarian restaurant, the Bavarium and the Paulaner are really traditional restaurants in that style from the northern part of Germany. Unfortunately the websites are only in German.

Bavarium Address: Windmühlenstraße 3, 30159 Hannover
Bavarium Phone: 0511 323600

Paulaner Address: Prinzenstraße 1, 30159 Hannover
Paulener Phone: 0511 3681285

And, last, but certainly NOT least, mine!

My favorite is the Altedeutsche Bierstube. It is a great cozy, little, traditional German food restaurant. Their unique schweinhoch (pig’s knuckle) served with its crispy skin, mashed potatoes and sauerkraut is a meal I dream about all year long. I’m looking forward to enjoying another great dinner there this year. It is is only open Monday through Saturday [i.e., closed Sunday]. Also, they do NOT take credit cards.

Address: Kobelingerstrasse 1, 30159, Hannover,
Phone: 511 344 921

If you have favorite Hannover restaurants you've enjoyed while at Domotex, let us know in the comments. And, if you go to any of these restaurants, let us know what you enjoyed most.

Safe travels and see you shortly at DOMOTEX!

~ Jim

Jim Gould, Floor Covering Institute

08 January 2010

Meet Katherine León, Director of Sales, DOMOTEX

Katherine Leon, DOMOTEX

Katherine León Joins DOMOTEX in 2010

Happy New Year 2010!

From all of us at Hannover Fairs USA, we would like to wish you a very happy and prosperous New Year 2010!

DOMOTEX 2010 is just around the corner and should you have any last minute questions prior to the show, please contact the Long Beach office at 562-901-9191 or e-mail me at rita@hfusa.com.

DOMOTEX News: Katherine León

We also have some news: a new director of sales.

Katherine León has joined Hannover Fairs USA in the New Year as Director of Sales for the Domotex team.

From this point on, my role at Hannover Fairs USA will be focused full-time on several other events organized by Deutsche Messe AG, including Hannover Messe and CeMAT in Hannover along with their respective worldwide events. These shows are industrial technology B2B events supporting all facets of manufacturing (Hannover Messe) and material handling & logistics (CeMAT).

I know you will enjoy Katherine. Prior to joining the Hannover Fairs USA team, Katherine was the Sales Manager for Messe Frankfurt USA where she led sales and marketing efforts in the domestic textile division. With a decade of trade show and conference experience, she has managed and produced meetings and events of all sizes in the B2B sector.

Katherine graduated from Syracuse University and currently resides in Atlanta, GA where she enjoys running and volunteering in her neighborhood association.

Katherine will be at DOMOTEX assisting U.S. exhibitors. After the show she can be reached in her Atlanta office, 404-326-9921, or via email at kleon@hfusa.com.

Katherine and I both look forward to seeing you in Hannover for DOMOTEX 2010!

Safe travels.

~ Rita

Rita Dommermuth, Hannover Fairs USA
rita@hfusa.com - Tel: 562-901-9191

04 January 2010

International Trade & Importing Advice For Flooring

Jim Gould

How Much Do You Know About Flooring, International Trade & Importing?

DOMOTEX: A Source of Invaluable Flooring Insights for Importing & International Trade

International trade can be extremely profitable or a very expensive lesson depending on how well you understand the importing process and prepare for it - especially in flooring. I've learned many lessons during my floor covering career; some confirmed expectations and others led to surprises -- expensive surprises -- having to do with not knowing enough about importing. As Yogi Berra said, “You don’t know what you don’t know” and, if I had, I might have saved a lot of money! For example, I wish I had known why gross profit margins were higher in ceramic than in other flooring categories before making the investments I did. That was an example of not understanding how freight costs ate away profits every time I moved ceramic. On the other hand, I won when I gambled on a new category called laminate back in the early 1990s. That's when I found Pergo at Domotex and was the first person to import it and then distribute it nationally in the U.S.

The long and the short of flooring, international trade and importing is caution for the inexperienced. As we like to say in America, “there may be gold in those hills” but it can be a dangerous road getting there without knowledge or experience.

And, that's where Domotex is invaluable!

I was reminded of this earlier today while speaking with a man who had recently invested in a wood flooring factory in Eastern Europe. He is using Domotex Hannover as the fastest and most economical way to get a perspective on the international market, see products, trends and meet with manufacturers and buyers from around the world. This is something that everyone contemplating international business must do. Domotex is an invaluable tool for anyone looking outside of their borders for opportunity. But once you decide to take the leap into international waters there is a lot to learn!

As easy as it seems to match up two parties when one is saying “I want to sell” and the other “I want to buy,” I've learned not to underestimate the complexity of the international market. More specifically, there are two high level phases associated with bringing product into the U.S. The first involves procureing, shipping, clearing customs and getting it to its final destination. The second is the process of sales, logistics and distribution to customers.

If you are coming to Domotex to find product to import and you are not an experienced importer there are many things you need to consider. Here are a few:

• Are your Commercial Invoice (a required document) and Purchase Order in agreement and do they specify both the terms of your transaction and the product?

• Does your paperwork conform with U.S. regulatory requirements?

• Are packaging, marking, and regulatory requirements specified and met?

• What constitutes full performance by your supplier and how have you documented it?

• Is your product correctly classified under the HTS codes so that you know what your tariff will be upon entry to the U.S.?

• What is your recourse if shipments are delayed or products turn out to be non-conforming?

• Are there cultural or customary business differences between you and your supplier that you need to be aware of to avoid misunderstandings?

• How will you handle currency fluctuations?

• Have you chosen the right payment and financing vehicles for the transaction? Letters of Credit afford protection against non performing suppliers but only if they are structured properly and are in agreement with performance requirements in your Commercial Invoice.

• When do you want title and risk to pass to you? There are several choices: FAS, FOB, CIF, for example, and each one means title passes at a different point and you become responsible for loss and insurance at a different point.

• Do you know every cost of importing that affects your gross profit margin? Example: procurement, inspections, ground transportation, marine transportation, insurance, tariffs, customs fees (both departure and entry), brokers fees, etc.

• Do you understand the roles of main players along the way: freight forwarder and customs brokers and know how and where to hire them?

• Have you followed tips for packaging and loading that reduce breakage and help expedite your shipment through customs?

• Do you understand the process of “gaining entry” at customs and what is required of the importer of record at this point?

Surfaces 2010: International Trade Expert Panel

Although it takes place a few weeks after DOMOTEX, Surfaces 2010 offers an opportunity to learn about international trade and importing flooring products. More specifically, I will moderate a panel of international trade experts as we discuss the potential pitfalls to be avoided when importing. It will cover important requirements for foreign manufacturers wishing to export to the U.S. as well as for American buyers wanting to procure product abroad.

We will answer some important questions but more importantly show you how you can avoid situations such as:

“What recourse do I have with a supplier that is 8,000 miles away and has already exercised my Letter of Credit but his product does not meet my expectations?”

The quick answer to this is that protection has to be put in place in advance. Product quality expectations must be clearly detailed in the purchase order. Conditions must be placed in the Letter of Credit that restricts release of funds until after the goods are inspected and determined to conform. And, a plan for dispute resolution has to be agreed upon before orders are placed.

“When does title and risk pass to me?

This depends upon which international terms you choose, for example, FAS, FOB, or CIF. Title and risk can pass at various stages along the importing route, depending upon how you structure the deal.

For more information about the seminar, read Find Out What You Don't Know About Importing Before the Ship Sails.

Floor covering is a global industry and opportunity abounds for aggressive entrepreneurs importing or exporting. Just be prepared!

I'd love to hear about your experiences and what you have found most beneficial in achieving success with flooring, international trade and importing.

Thanks, and I look forward to seeing you at DOMOTEX as well as Surfaces.